Day Two of SIBA began with a late start, as the early events and breakfast were primarily for booksellers, so Sandy, Jill and I headed downstairs for breakfast around 10 am where we were pleasantly surprised to run into Marybeth Whalen! Marybeth has spent time with Heather and Sandy in the past, but it was my first time meeting her, and I have to tell you that she is just as fun, sweet, and easy to be around as you would expect. We had a nice time chatting while we grabbed a coffee and a little breakfast.

So, the first real event of the day was the author panels. We chose to attend the panel entitled “Magical & Mysterious” which included authors Joseph Scott Morgan, Sandra Brannan, Joelle Charbonneau, Jeff Hirsch, Suzanne Johnson, and Tonya Hurley. The panel mostly consisted of each author telling us about their book and taking a few questions. Tonya’s book, The Blessed, has one of the coolest covers I’ve seen in a long time and the cover alone makes me want to read it. Joelle was especially fun to hear speak because she is hilarious and also an opera singer! She sang for us to prove it, and I truly had goose bumps as she was singing. Amazing. Sandra was funny, too, and later in the weekend on the exhibition floor Sandy and I ran into her and she told us this crazy story about something that could ONLY happen in South Dakota. She is very entertaining, I really enjoyed her. Overall an interesting panel and I ended up wanting to read ALL of their books.

Lunch was emceed by the Lee Brothers¬†and our speakers were Michael Morris, Stephanie McAfee, and Janis Owens. I realized during the lunch just how many books I was going to acquire over the weekend … each meal came with a book from each author present, plus each book from every panel was available, plus the trade show floor! I began feeling a little overwhelmed (in a good way) at this point. After lunch, we went to the Signaround where were able to pick up signed copies of all books discussed in the panels throughout the day – and let me tell you, I picked up a LOT of books. AND I showed restraint. So fun!!

The afternoon presented us with more author panels and I chose to attend the YA panel which featured authors Rachel Hauck (the moderator, her books are not YA), Gigi Amateau, Jessica Khoury, Kat Zhang, and Jackson Pearce. What shocked me is how young some of these authors are – Jackson is my age, Jessica is 22 and Kat is 21 – but how talented, eloquent, and SMART they are at the same time. I cannot imagine writing and publishing a book at 21 and these girls acted like it was just natural for them to be where they are in their lives. It amazed me. And Jackson Pearce was probably the funniest person I’ve heard speak in a long time. She was incredibly sarcastic but in a fun self-deprecating way. I loved her and her fun attitude made me want to read her books as soon as possible.

After the panels was the Rep Picks presentation, where representatives from the major publishing houses share their picks for the hottest books this fall. After that was the First 180 Days party, a fun event outside with wine and books! This is the place for authors with books coming out in the first half of 2013 to showcase their books and give away signed copies. The last event I attended on Friday was the SIBA supper, at which the following authors spoke: William Joyce, Randy Wayne White, Rhoda Janzen and Jill McCorkle. Rhoda was there to talk about the follow-up to her immensely popular Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? and while I haven’t read the first book, after hearing her speak I’m excited to get my hands on both of them. And Jill read from her upcoming novel, Life After Life, which was absolutely hysterical and made me want to pick up the book immediately.

OK! That’s about it for Friday. Wow, it was a long, but super awesome day. There was actually one more event that day, a late-night reading that I chose not to attend because my eyelids were closing themselves by that point, but my goodness they packed a lot of activities into one day. Stay tuned for full reports of days three and four!